The Cellar: Barrington’s Grapes & Grains

Friday, February 08, 2013


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Since giving up its status as the only ‘dry city’ in Rhode Island, Barrington has issued two ‘Class A’ liquor licenses. After a lot of hard work, one of the coveted licenses was issued to lifelong resident (and wine enthusiast) Matthew Amaral. It didn’t take long for Matthew to realize his longtime dream and in March of last year he opened the beautiful wine shop Grapes & Grains, located on 24 Bosworth Street.

Grapes & Grains is a unique wine shop boasting a rapidly growing selection of fine wines, craft beers and specialty spirits. One of the things that make this place unique is its wide selection. As one of only two places for alcohol in the city, Grapes & Grains must have something for everyone and does, by offering everything from box wine for the value-driven consumer to Grand Cru Burgundies and Classified Bordeaux for the wine buyer at the other end of the spectrum – all at great prices I might add.

Among the most popular sections of Grapes & Grains is the ‘Under $12’ wine section, which offers close to 100 different selections from around the world, as well as the craft beer section which offers discounts on regular sized mix-&-match 4 & 6-packs. During a recent visit I met with general manager Peter Andrews, who gave me the grand tour and introducing me to some of his favorite Italian wines including one that was near and dear to his heart.

Wine 1 — 2011 Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige, Italy - $20.99

The first wine Peter recommended was the 2011 Kerner from Abbazia di Novacella. This old Estate is located just south of the Alps in the northernmost part of Italy where cool-climate white grape varieties constitute

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the majority of plantings. Abbazia di Novacella is one of Italy’s oldest wineries that remain in business to this day. Founded in 1142 by Augustinian monks, this winery is best-known for its whites made from Sylvaner, Gewürztraminer, Veltliner and Kerner - a cross between Trollinger (Schiava) and Riesling. This is a wine for those of you who, like me, enjoy tasting new varietals. Kerner is an aromatic white wine which has become a specialty of the Isarco Valley. Aged for 6 month in stainless steel, this medium-bodied wine displays ripe apples, peaches and lemons on the finish, alongside minerality and a nice herbal note.

Wine 2 — 2010 Iuli, Umberta, Barbera del Monferrato, Italy - $13.99

This week’s second wine is from a family owned and operated Estate located in northwestern Italy. Peter, who recently spent time in Italy, worked alongside winemaker Fabrizio Iuli in making this wine. The Iuli Estate

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has 30 acres under vine – all certified organic. The grapes, which Peter helped hand harvest, are from several different vineyards the Iuli family owns. Peter explains that his most vivid and fond memory of his time in Italy, besides from the many days of harvesting and getting down and dirty actually making this wine, was the day Fabrizio's Father, Lorenzo (who recently passed away), taught him how to prune the vines for the following year. The vines he was teaching Peter to prune were the ones his father had planted decades earlier. “That moment to me was the epitome of passion behind the vine," Peter said. "It was what officially hooked me into this industry forever. Selling the wine that I helped make is by far my most proud achievement to this date.”

Barbera is a versatile red grape varietal and is made into many different styles of wine ranging from light and sparkling to concentrated and rich. The 2010 Umberta Barbera was aged in stainless steel for 8-9 months making it a fruit-forward version displaying ripe red fruits with a refreshing sour cherry finish. It is bottled unfiltered so while light and zesty in flavor, it has a considerable weight on the palate. Good food wine and a steal at $13.99!

Wine 3 — 2011 Rosso del Popolo, Cantine di Indie, Langhe, Italy - $16.99

The last wine Peter pointed out was the 2011 Rosso del Popolo, which is made by Eugenio Bocchino a famous Barolo producer who lives in La Morra, Piedmont. This wine is a blend of 50% Nebbiolo and 30%

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Barbera sourced from his own vineyards as well as 20% Dolcetto, which Eugenio purchases from an outside grower. The tannic Nebbiolo is oak-aged and then blended with the Barbera and Dolcetto, which are kept in stainless steel to preserve their natural freshness. This is a serious wine with considerable weight and noticeable grip. It’s a real ‘Italian’; earthy and savory with a core of ripe black fruit but layered with under-ripe red cherries. With firm tannins this wine ends deliciously mouth-drying. A lot of wine for $16.99.

Come and visit Grapes & Grains and let their courteous and knowledgeable staff guide you towards your next favorite wine! If you are looking for something fun to do this Thursday (Valentine’s Day!) you should stop by for a complimentary chocolate raspberry, strawberry Champagne and pink velvet cupcakes. Plus enjoy 15% off any wine sampled as well as a complimentary chair massage. For more information visit Grapes & Grains' Facebook page.

Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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